How not to interview

Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro: “Now, I want to move on to another subject. The New York Times reported that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation the day after you fired James Comey in May of ’17. And the investigation was whether you were actively working for Russia or unwittingly. So, I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever [Pirro was laughing as she finished up the question] worked for Russia, Mr. President?”

Donald Trump: “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the, the headline of that article—it’s called the failing New York Times for a reason. They’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that. But you look at what’s going on—you know, I fired James Comey. I call him lying James Comey, because he was a terrible liar, and he did a terrible job as the FBI director. Look at what happened with the Hillary Clinton and the emails and the Hillary Clinton investigation, one of the biggest screw-ups that anybody’s ever seen as an investigation. And what happened after I fired him? Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, his lover Lisa Page—they did it. And, you know, they’re all gone. Most of those people, many, many people from the top ranks of the FBI, they’ve all been fired, or they had to leave. And they’re all gone. This is what they were talking about. And, obviously, nothing was found. And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other—probably any other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents, modern day presidents. Nobody’s been as tough as I have from any standpoint including the fact that we’re doing oil like we’ve never done it. We’re setting records in our country with oil and exporting oil and many other things, so—which is obviously not great for them, because that’s what they, that’s where they get their money for the most part. But many other things. So I—I think it was a great insult. And the New York Times is a disaster as a paper. It’s a—it’s a very horrible thing they said, and they’ve gone so far that people that weren’t necessarily believers are now big believers, because they said that was a step too far. They really are a disaster of a newspaper.” (That’s 358 words.)

Pirro is a former prosecutor, but she seems to know nothing about cross examination—or she let her Trump admiration interfere with doing her job. The follow-up question she didn’t ask: “That didn’t answer my question. Could you answer it now, please?”

However, readers should not let Pirro’s ineptitude obscure for them the fact that Trump avoided the issue like a broken field runner. Why didn’t he answer the question?